Going into the Masters, Justin Rose was tipped by many to be the man wearing the Green Jacket at the end of the week.
Instead, he missed the cut at Augusta National for the first time in his career.
In his 13 previous starts, Rose had racked up two runner-up finishes and three other top tens, finishing no worse than a tie for 39th – that coming on his debut in 2003.
However, rounds of 75 and 73 put paid to the 38-year-old’s ambitions for another year and leaving him with an unwanted free weekend to wonder where it all went wrong.
“I think I got my preparation a little bit wrong,” he admitted ahead of this week’s Wells Fargo Championship, his first start since the Masters. “I took a month off in February and that was designed to really freshen me up going into Augusta and for the rest of the season.
“I kind of came out of that month not playing as well as I would have hoped, and the ‘Florida Swing’ became a bit of a struggle and a bit of a grind.”
He turned in strong performances in the PLAYERS Championship and WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play but, by his own admission, was still under-cooked for the first men’s major of the season.
“I was always just sort of fighting my game a little bit, and then it's like you're sort of cramming for an exam,” said the Englishman. “I started to practice harder than I would have liked in the days leading up to Augusta. I did something different this year, I went to Sage Valley and practiced there for three days, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Went and played nine holes at Augusta on Sunday evening.
"I think it all felt like it was a really long run-up. So, by Tuesday, I felt pretty good with my game and then, by Thursday, I tanked a little bit.
“The preparation didn't really click and, because of that, I ultimately kind of burned out a little bit too quick.”